The opening of this year's Serpentine Pavilion, designed by South African architecture studio Counterspace, has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Counterspace's structure was due to be open on 11 June 2020, marking the Serpentine Gallery's 20th summer pavilion. The Serpentine Gallery announced today that it will postpone the opening until next year but has not announced new dates.
British architect David Adjaye, who is an advisor to the Serpentine Gallery and helped select Counterspace, said the postponement was needed to provide time to produce the pavilion following the UK lockdown.
"The global Covid-19 crisis has changed the immediate context," Adjaye said. "Rather than rush to execute Counterspace's stellar design as soon as it is safe to do so, the Serpentine has chosen to accept the slowness reshaping society today and utilise it to develop a deeper relationship with the architects.
"Covid-19 has brought the pavilion themes sharply into focus"
Revealed in February this year, the Serpentine Pavilion 2020 was set to be built with more sustainable material alternatives, including cork and bricks made of recycled construction waste.
Different textures, shapes and gradients were intended to reference places in London that have large migrant populations, such as Brixton, Hoxton, Hackney, Whitechapel, Edgware Road, Peckham, Ealing and North Kensington.
Counterspace's co-founder Sumayya Vally said the extension for the project would allow the studio to adapt the themes to suit a post-pandemic world.
"We've always relied on places of gathering to come together and we miss them when they're gone," Vally explained.
"Covid-19 has brought the pavilion themes of community and gathering sharply into focus – allowing us the opportunity to extend and deepen or engagement process over two years."
Counterspace directors are youngest architects to design Serpentine Pavilion
"We look forward to working with Counterspace over the next 12 months to draw more meaningful connections between their pavilion and the people, communities, and nature of London," Adjaye added.
"While the circumstances that have prompted this evolution are by no means easy, we believe it is an important opportunity for this pavilion to stand as a bridge of sorts between either sides of this unfathomably significant time in history."
Counterspace was founded in Johannesburg in 2015. The three directors Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers and Amina Kaska are set to be the youngest architects to design the annual Serpentine Pavilion.
The coronavirus outbreak has caused a number of architecture and design events scheduled for spring and summer 2020 to be postponed or cancelled.
Milan's Salone del Mobile has been cancelled and will next take place from 13 to 18 April 2021, while the start of the Venice Architecture Biennale has been delayed from May to August. Visit Dezeen Events Guide's list of affected events for more information.